Diablo III Update

gemcollectionSeason 3 ended this past Sunday without my realizing it. When I logged into the game last night, I was met with a billion in game mails containing all of my gems and crafting components. Side note, I’m wondering how they will be combined when the upcoming patch removes some of the variety? I was curious about some of the season’s rewards and also how many Paragon points I’d end up with but inventory management was the most pressing matter. Unfortunately I had spent a pretty penny on dyes and transmogrification (bad idea at such a low level by the way), so I ended up with a mess of all manner of gem tiers. I was only able to combine some, so I ended up having to go farm some gold so I’d be able to combine what was left. I was extremely lucky and ended up on one of the bovine rifts, and stumbled upon an event I hadn’t seen before.

The gist of it was that there was a spirit cow, and once you talk to him, he says “they look like they have a beef with you” before disappearing. Soon all manner of bovines are swarming your location. I killed 87 before the time elapsed, however I noticed each one was giving me something like 100k experience and 10k gold. I was rolling in dough once more, and managed two levels of experience in that one event. I still had to finish off the rift and the big ass cow boss before returning to town where I managed to combine all my remaining gems and deck myself out in some new gear. I ended up removing so many gems from my old gear that I used up all of my money and ended up with several pieces of gear sitting in my stash — waiting to have gems removed. Oh, and I decided to use up the 350 blood shards in my inventory, and ended up with some legendary shoulders, so it ended up being pretty good overall.

I ended up with 12 paragon points, up from 5 and combined with the seasonal 9 I had earned. Not bad, it helped with some minor buffs on my Demon Hunter. Before the end of the night I was level 56 but I missed my mark of getting this character to 70 before the season ended. Fortunately the new season doesn’t start until Friday, so I should be able to have the Demon Hunter at 70 by then anyway. Worst part of spending on that money on transmogs? I look completely different after only a few short hours. Lesson learned.

Screenshot000

Looking around I can’t seem to find what the exact rewards for having a level 70 during season 3 was supposed to net me. For Season 4 it looks like you get a couple of transmogs for a couple of slots. I imagine the same would go for season 3, but at this point I don’t see them, so either they haven’t been unlocked yet, or I’m not looking in the right place. I did get a new profile ring thing (you can see it above, below my character), but that’s all I can see so far, and that doesn’t seem limited to the season, but rather having over ten paragon points. Anyone have any ideas?

I think this is why the season journey will be nice, as it seems to direct you to what needs to be done to get rewards, and has a tracker much like the achievement system. I’ll see if I can track down more info an report back if no one enlightens us in the comments.


Took Crystal for this daily run. I was doing just fine, actually got a crown for once, and ended up standing too close to Big Dog. You’ll see what happened.

The Gamer To-Do List: Update #4

gamertodolist

It’s been about a week since I last made an update to my ongoing Gamer To-Do List project, so I thought I’d come back to it for another Blaugust post. There haven’t been a huge amount of updates here, but I’ll try to touch on the major stuff and add some notes to the list so it reflects the current goings-on.

My Gamer To-Do List:

  • ESO – level my templar to 15 and try out pvp again –  (haven’t played for a couple weeks, but it’s staying on my list anyway)
  • League of Legends –  Made Silver, work towards Gold. Try to get some champions to tier 5 mastery (Have only been playing a little here and there)
  • EQ2 – work through expansion Chains of Eternity –  Nearly done with EJ zone. (Eidolon Jungle completed, moving forward)
  • Borderlands The Pre-Sequel – still in rotation
  • Valkyria Chronicles – still in the rotation
  • Diablo III – (level Demon Hunter to 70 before patch) – level a crusader in season 4 (Demon Hunter is currently 51 and climbing)
  • The Forest – check out patch 0.22 multiplayer fixesgame was nearly unplayable in co-op before (have yet to try this)
  • Nuclear Throne –  Record daily runs and share them on the blog during Blaugust (maybe beyond)

Free Agents:

  • Project Gorgon
  • L.A. Noire
  • Alan Wake
  • Divinity Original Sin

On Hold:

  • Crusader Kings II — learn the game.
  • Magic Duels – Check back to see if bugs are fixed
  • GW2 – determine main, then level to 80. 
  • Rift – Level Cleric to cap (currently level 40).

The biggest bits of news I have from the past week is that I’ve made some forward progress playing through the Chains of Eternity expansion in Everquest II, along with making some headway in Diablo III on my Demon Hunter, who is a leftover from a past season but hadn’t been leveled to 70. I did however spend quite a bit of time playing other things that aren’t really on this list (nor would I include them) and being busy with real life stuff, so that factors into why I’ve had little effect on my list.

For starters, I spent a few hours playing Grand Theft Auto V at my friend’s house the other day, and I have to say I really want to pick up a PC copy because it’s honestly the best GTA experience I’ve had, especially after having basically written off the series for a very long time. I also got to try out the Call of Duty Black Ops III multiplayer beta, as he got into it on his PS4. Unfortunately this didn’t include access to Zombies or the campaign co-op, only the regular multiplayer. It was hard to get matched into anything decent, there was a bit of lag most of the time, and so it wasn’t the best experience but I can report that multiplayer in that game is pretty much the same thing you’ve already experienced, with a couple of differences. First, there’s the parkour elements that Titanfall was known for, being able to rocket jump and wall run/hang. Second, there’s a new mechanic called “specialists” which equate to different classes that have special abilities. You can only use one specialist at a time, and they are gender locked pre-made characters. This is a step towards making CoD have a class system like games such as Battleborn and Overwatch are trying to do. I like it, and I think it holds up pretty well. The multiplayer isn’t optimized yet though, so it wasn’t all that much fun. I look forward to playing more of this when it comes out though, as the 4 player co-op campaign and zombies should be a blast.

On the Everquest II front, I finally completed the Eidolon Jungle zone. The beginning of the zone was kind of a drag, because it was just a rip in the time continuum, and a mirrored version of the Feerrott, a zone I was never fond of from the original Shattered Lands. However, as the zone progressed it was cool to see atmospheric events that made parts of the main landmass feel like whole different zones.  Towards the end you’re in an area that has been fully engulfed by creatures from the plane of fear, and you are doing quests for the weird Amygdalan race. It’s still more kill some of this and gather some of that, until finally a couple of quests point you in the direction of an instanced zone: Temple of the Faceless. I was worried I would be stuck at this point, assuming that the dungeon would be heroic and I’d be unable to complete it, but I had forgotten that at the end of the last zone I had completed (Skyshrine), Daybreak has started creating solo zones so people could get through these situations on their own. Thankfully the mobs in the advanced solo were easy to kill, and counted for what I needed. One of those quests’ completion relied on clearing the zone, and I was able to do so without any missteps. The next set of quests sent me to another advanced solo, called the Throne of Fear, and it too was easy to complete. Soon I had finished the instances and the zone altogether, and am now sitting on the quest Shades of Drinal: Puzzle Pieces which is supposed to lead me around Norrath to newly (at the time) added solo instances in older zones. This is part of the quest chain that will lead me to the other overland zone for the expansion, Obol Plains. So I think at this point I’m about half way done with the expansion, but not counting heroic dungeons or raids, which I might not get a chance to do until later, or with help from others. For now I’m content to solo up through the content til I can’t anymore and have to buy the new expansion + sub time. Here’s a gallery of various shots from my recent adventures:

In Diablo III, I mentioned previously that I want to check out the new content in patch 2.3, but also that I wanted to start up a new character when season 4 started. As I already have a hardcore Monk and Witch Doctor at 70, I want to start either a new Wizard, Crusader or Barbarian, though the latter is fairly uninteresting to me. I didn’t mention Demon Hunter there, as I already have a hardcore DH from a previous season that was sitting at level 40 for the past while and so I thought I’d play him for a while til the patch releases, or maybe even getting him capped before hand. Since making that decision, I’ve only had a couple of playing sessions but have managed to level him to 51 at the time of this writing. I’m still playing on Expert for now, and have twinked him a bit when it comes to gems that a character his level wouldn’t normally have access to. Creatures in the Nephalim rifts are dying pretty easily, so it may be time for me to start thinking about heading into Master difficulty. I won’t bother moving into Torment I before hitting 70 and having mostly legendaries or set gear though, as I have learned that lesson the hard way. Bumping up the difficulty too far just results in dead characters in Hardcore mode. The Demon Hunter is starting to become more interesting now that I’m nearing the level cap, as some of the runes drastically change his abilities and make them more fun. I have to say at the early levels he’s less interesting than the other ranged characters, the Wizard and the Witch Doctor. I really miss playing my Wizard, but as he isn’t a Hardcore character, and I’ve basically said “to hell with normal,” he just collects dust. This is why I’m thinking of rolling another new Wizard come season 4. But I digress. Here’s what the Demon Hunter looks like after doing up some dyes and transmogs:

Screenshot007

That’s really all I have to report this time around.


By far my best daily run so far, partly due to the fact that Chicken is so hard to kill (also this means the video is considerably longer than usual). Made it to world 7, just shy of the throne this time. Progress! Don’t mind the tutorial bit, that was just something added in the latest patch and had to be played through.

#gamertodolist #everquest2 #nuclearthrone #diablo3

Diablo III is Evergreen

Using a different designation, I’ve been writing about my favorite games for years, and long time readers will notate that there are a few titles I always end up coming back to. Many of them tend to be “session-based,” which is a term I use to describe games you can play in small time frames. Lobby shooters, MOBAs, Action-RPGs, even some MMOs can be designated this way, due to the nature of being able to jump in, play a game and jump out (or make some overall progress). However, not all of the games I play really fall under this category, but I still return to them time and again.

Void, proprietor of A Green Mushroom, and I had a discussion on Twitter before this whole Blaugust thing kicked off.

I have to give credit where it’s due, and since he’s also made it a writing prompt for Blaugust, I figured I could write about one of my evergreen games. Obvious choices would have been League of Legends and Everquest II, as I’ve written more posts about those two games than any others. Due to the fact that I have written so much about them inspired me to look through other titles, and the next most frequently mentioned game is definitely Diablo III.

It’s still a little while off, but the next patch has me excited. I can’t wait to collect Kanai’s Cube and get some new buffs from my legendary gear. I can’t wait to check out the new zone. Shortly after 2.3 drops, season four will be starting up, and there’s actually been some new information revealed about some of the rewards that will be available with that. Another new feature, the “season journey interface” sounds like it will give you some focus as to what you can work on during a new season, and I like the idea of there being new rewards each time. It gives you a reason to come back to the game every few months, or play solidly if you’re a dedicated player. I know D3 is feeling more and more like and MMO-lite at this point, and definitely holds my interest better than some full blown MMOs have. But this isn’t the first time I’ve talked about how it’s similar or could influence the MMO world.

In case you haven’t played a seasonal character before, or have questions on what happens with your seasonal progress once the season ends, there’s a great write up that breaks things down for you over here. I was actually wondering what happened with seasonal paragon levels, as this was the first time I had a character make it to max level and earn any paragon levels during a season. It was assumed that the paragon level would stick on the seasonal end of things, and carry over between seasons, but the paragon xp is actually transferred back to the non-seasonal side of things. So if you had a seasonal normal or seasonal hardcore class, at season’s end paragon levels earned will transfer to non-seasonal normal or hardcore characters. So the few paragon levels I earned on my S3 Hardcore Witch Doctor will tally up with the paragon levels I earned on my Hardcore Monk and affect the entire account. Currently I have three level 70 characters:

Screenshot000

The Normal level 70 Wizard has 25 paragon levels, and last I played him I was very comfortable at Torment I difficulty, but I haven’t braved anything beyond that. I also stopped playing normal mode, as the added difficulty of Hardcore mode is more fun. That, and Eri wouldn’t stop badgering me about being a wuss. I’ve had several Hardcore characters that have died along the way, but I did manage to get a Monk to level 70, and he has 5 paragon levels, also sitting in Torment I. My season 3 Witch Doctor is 70 with 9 paragon levels and is on the same difficulty level. Finally, I have a Hardcore Demon Hunter that is level 40, but gets the added benefit of paragon levels. I’m sort of thinking about leveling him to 70 before this season ends, so then I can level a Crusader to 70 during season 4. Then I just need to make a new Wizard in Hardcore, or try to level a Barbarian. I’ve not been fond of the latter though, despite giving it a shot a few times. Perhaps I’ll save the Barb for season 5 leveling. I know I want to actually try and play more of the end game, because I’ve not seen a greater rift, a legendary gem, or the highest torment difficulty and I really want to. So this might be making it back onto the To-Do list sooner than later.

Either way, it’s apparent that Diablo III has been an evergreen game for me, as I’ve played it fervently for short bursts on several occasions over the past year and a half.

Edit: Forgot to do a Daily Nuclear Throne run until after the 11th ended, so instead of the run being a day ahead, you’re getting it on the actual day (i.e. I missed a daily in there. Oh well, still planning to keep this up for a while). I failed hard on this one, so it’s shorter than the previous run.

Edit again: turns out that the daily runs reset at 5 pm my time, so that was still technically a run for the 11th, so I’m going to rename the file and run with my original “play it a day behind the post date it’s posted on” scheme.

#diablo3 #blizzard #endgame #seasonal

Blizzard and Me

Blizzard and I have a strange relationship. I was about the biggest fanboy you could be when it came to their early years in the 1990’s. I remember playing Warcraft: Orcs & Humans and Warcraft II: Tides of Darkness back when you still had to run them through DOS. The games were easy to learn but more difficult to master. The original Diablo was also a staple back then, but it wasn’t until Starcraft was installed on my machine that I became a fan for life. Hailed as one of if not the best RTS game of all time, Starcraft was truly a perfect storm. Competitors such as Command & Conquer held their own, but Starcraft set the bar for all RTS games to come. I fell in love with the game, eschewing nearly all other games I was playing to devote my life to it. I beat the campaigns, I beat the expansion, I played regularly on Battle.net, though I never got involved in the ladder. I used the map editor to create new maps, attempted to create a Starcraft RPG within it, and even had a webpage dedicated to it, that won an award back in the days when GeoCities were a thing. Clearly, I was obsessed.

That obsession came back when Diablo II released in 2000. I was in my senior year of high school, and thankfully was at a point where I could pretty much ignore school so my grades didn’t suffer, despite the fact that I was constantly playing it. I lamented when the computer I was using fried and I was unable to play the game after the Lord of Destruction expansion hit. I was able to play it periodically at friend’s houses, but I lost out on part of the game’s evolution for the most part.

When Warcraft III: Reign of Chaos hit stores a couple of years later, I was still computer-less, though I had a good friend who would allow me to play it when I was visiting. Eventually, I had a new computer and I purchased the Battle Chest for the game, that was packed with The Frozen Throne expansion, and ended up playing through both, along with playing the game itself and multiple mods created by the community. Never DotA though, and for that I am sad. Nevertheless, my obsession with Blizzard’s fantastic games continued.

Upon hearing of the upcoming MMO World of Warcraft, I was very excited and wanted to be one of the first to play it. At the time though, I was unemployed and was unable to afford a copy of the game let alone a subscription fee. There were also stories of huge queues and Blizzard pulling the game from store shelves, so I made a decision to stick with the original Everquest, which I had been playing off and on for years (though never very seriously).

A couple of years later, I had basically forgotten about Blizzard altogether. I was busy playing single player games, shooters like Counter-Strike and Day of Defeat, Call of Duty, or whatever was in my Playstation 2 library. Sure, WoW was a success and hard to ignore, but I wasn’t at that point of being obsessed with MMOs like I would be in the future. Eventually my Dad (who had introduced me to EQ) was telling me that he had picked up Everquest 2, and I followed suit. I convinced my roommate at the time to join us, and soon I had a mixture of friends and family that were all playing the game together. It could have just as easily been WoW, because honestly they are very similar games when it comes down to it, but we had found our home in Norrath and my obsession with MMOs had nothing to do with Blizzard. It even came to a point that from what I had read, what I had seen and what I had talked about with friends, that WoW felt like the inferior game in many ways, despite being vastly more popular with most of the world. We felt like we had made the right choice regardless, and since Blizzard hadn’t done anything with any of their IPs outside of WoW for years, I basically wrote them off altogether.

From circa 2003 to circa 2010, I didn’t play any Blizzard games. There were times I would dabble with Starcraft or Diablo II, but I didn’t feel the love for the company that I once had. It was a sad state of affairs, but it was what it was. It wasn’t until I had a falling out with the MMO genre altogether that I opened up the possibility of playing and enjoying World of Warcraft. I had spent very little time in these virtual worlds for a couple of years and had a new job where my direct co-worker wouldn’t stop yammering about the game. I finally succumbed to his pandering and bought the Battle Chest that included Vanilla and The Burning Crusade. I also picked up Wrath of Lich King shortly thereafter.

I was pleasantly surprised how much I could enjoy the game I had spent so much time trashing. So much time arguing over with friends who loved it and I was still wondering why. None of them would even give my games of choice the time of day because they felt like they already had so much invested in WoW. I don’t blame them, looking back. They were right. I was wrong. However, it seems that somewhere along the line Blizzard put all of their eggs in one basket, and forgot about people like me. People who helped them become the behemoth. Who paid their way towards making WoW which would then in turn make them the king of the gaming world.

Sure, I played WoW for about six months and enjoyed myself well enough, but the time investment I had put into Everquest 2 continuously pulled me back to that game instead. Had I started with WoW, I probably would be like most of you who are reading this post. WoW would be my game, and I’d either play it steadily or leave for a couple of months only to return when the next expansion hit. Either way, I had that relationship with EQ2, so it was easy to leave WoW to go back to that game. WoW never hooked me the way other Blizzard games did, and I don’t think it ever will.

It wasn’t until 2013-14 that I really got back into Blizzard games, and this wasn’t due to World of Warcraft. I managed to get into the Beta for Hearthstone and was rather impressed with it, and played it for quite a while. I purchased Diablo III and its expansion, and as it sits now that is currently my favorite Blizzard game, though Starcraft II has been fun as well (though no where near as addictive as its predecessor was for me). I also picked WoW up again, pre-Warlords of Draenor, but only played for a month and wasn’t hooked this time either.

Hearthstone was unique in that it was a free to play title, which Blizzard hadn’t released before. I loved the fact that it was a CCG because of my history with Magic: The Gathering, and though it was simple and still based on Warcraft lore, I was hooked for a time. I played through beta into full release, earned enough gold to buy all of the Naxxramas adventures and even continued playing after Goblins and Gnomes released. It was around this time though that I started to feel disenchanted with the game. The random effects began to get to ridiculous levels where it felt like you had very little control over what happened in a given match, and if I wanted to play a dice game I’d just go play craps. Still, it has become a steady revenue stream for Blizz, and they’ve added more solo adventures and are teasing a new set of cards coming out sometime soon in The Grand Tournament. Good on them, but it’s no longer a game that gets my regular attention.

Diablo III launched and had its issues (namely the Auction House) and I avoided playing it until after they fixed the problem with the patch 2.0. Shortly thereafter Reaper of Souls released, and along with it one of the best ideas the company had in a while: Adventure Mode. The level of replayability and the fact that patches are still released fairly regularly leads me to believe that Blizzard learned their lesson from the past. Diablo II didn’t have much added to it after LoD. Diablo III looks to have new content added regularly, and that’s good for the franchise overall. Even now, patch 2.3 is in testing and they’re adding a whole new zone, a powerful artifact, and changes to Adventure Mode.

Starcraft II was different from its predecessor in that it released only one single player campaign at a time, but has made changes through Battle.net to the multiplayer portion of the game. Mods are better supported through the Arcade as well. The third campaign Legacy of the Void, centering around the Protoss is in development now and the game has definitely lived a long life, sitting at the five year old mark already.

Clearly, Blizzard is starting to remember those of us who weren’t that taken with WoW but still love their other offerings. They’ve also started to branch out a bit by adding new IPs, such as Heroes of the Storm. Granted, this game still draws from their other IPs so it’s not entirely new, but it is their first foray into the MOBA scene and seems to be doing fairly well, though it’s not as popular as the kings of the genre League of Legends and DOTA 2. Personally this game appealed to me because I figured Blizzard would make a great MOBA, but it fell short of my expectations and I haven’t touched it since it was in Beta. Still, it’s good to see the company do something else besides make content for their MMO.

Lastly, a completely new IP called Overwatch has been in development for some time now. It’s actually showing up in the Battle.net launcher now too, though I haven’t heard of anyone getting any in-game time just yet. It’s a team-based lobby shooter, and though this isn’t a new genre in itself it’s something Blizzard have yet to do and it looks good. Hype got the best of me with HotS though, so I’m not super excited but I will try it when I get a chance. Perhaps it will exceed my expectations if I keep them low. Video of the game does look fantastic though.

Most people are in the middle of writing (or have written) posts about their predictions for the next WoW expansion which will be announced later today. The other big news is that WoW is down to 5.6 million subscribers, a low not seen since 2005 or so, yet still the biggest amount of subscribers in any western MMO at this point, with FFXIV coming in a close second. I really wanted to make some commentary but as you can see, my history with WoW is limited, though my history with the company might exceed some of yours. I’m thankful that they have done well and can potentially make more games that I’m interested in sometime in the future. But I have nothing overly positive to say about their MMO and I don’t suspect that will ever change. I’m in agreement with some members of the blogosphere that WoW is slowly being sunset and focus within the company is shifting to other projects. Honestly, I think diversification is good not only for Blizzard but for gamers like me as well.

WoW is dead. Long live Blizzard.

#blizzard #history

State of the Game: Short and Sweet

sotg

I have pretty much been plugging away at the same games this week, so rather than drone on about what I’ve done exactly, I will just be touching on the main points and calling it a day. Sound good? Okay then.

First up, League of Legends. Yes, I’m still playing regularly, though I haven’t played too much ranked. Still Bronze II. Someday I might get out of it, but I’m not that focused. Been having a blast playing the newest champion I purchased, Jinx, and working on my Mastery ranks for champions, which is a new system Riot introduced recently. Basically, the more you play a champion, you “level up” but it comes down to being fluff mostly. I think I’m at rank 8 or 9, because I have a handful of champions whom I’ve played, the highest being Jinx at level 3. If nothing else, it gives you some other meta to work on, which is alright by me, as I already play regularly.

I had a great game with Jinx the other day, where our mid laner fed 5 deaths and then disconnected from the game. I carried hard, and we still won the game even in a 4v5 which is pretty difficult to do. However, they did have an off-meta bot lane that didn’t work out so well for them, which got me snowballing. It helps that Jinx is such a hyper carry.

2015-05-21_00220

Next, I finally finished Shadow Warrior. The final boss wasn’t too difficult but did take some time to take down. The story ended well, and my overall verdict of the game was that it was fantastic. I will continue my playthrough write ups, though I think I’m going to start combining chapters and get it done fairly quickly, because I want to move on to something else. That’s the big debate I have now. I have League as my MOBA of choice. Titanfall has been my mainstay lobby shooter. I have several MMOs I dabble in, but Shadow Warrior was my main single player game for the last month. Not sure what I want to move on to. I did buy Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel a couple of months ago in a sale and really want to dive into that, but I have plenty of other games in my backlog as well. Maybe I’ll do a poll. We’ll see.

2015-05-22_00001

I have toyed around with Sid Meier’s Starships here and there, and finally finished my first game. Of course, this was accomplished over a long period of time, despite only having a couple of hours put into the game. That’s because it’s really easy to jump in and jump out for ten minutes at a time and feel like you made some progress. As such, that first game gives me a good impression of the game overall, and I like it. It’s a very simplified 4x, but it still scratches that itch. The tactical combat is definitely the best part, but the diplomacy and micromanagement of your empire is still fun too.

Lastly, I’ve been plugging away at my Season 3 Hardcore Witch Doctor in Diablo III. I hit level 53 the other night and have bumped the difficulty up to Expert. I think I could actually handle Master but I’m doing baby steps because I don’t want to kill this character off, like most of my other seasonal characters. I’d like to get her to 70 before the season ends, if nothing else just to get the achievement. Here’s what she looks like currently, along with her build at the moment:

Screenshot021 Screenshot022

Alternatively, you can see the full build and stats stuff over on my Anook page.

That’s all for this week. Til next time.

#stateofthegame #roundup